Chaffee school expansion starts in June

Saturday, May 7, 2005

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- After years of problems, Chaffee Elementary School's battle against a lack of space will end this summer.

Construction will begin in June on a new elementary cafeteria/activity center that will include a lobby and space for events such as concerts and kindergarten graduation.

The building will be separate from the current elementary facility and will be used for physical education classes during the school day, said Chaffee superintendent Dr. Arnold Bell.

The new cafeteria will be three times larger than the current area, allowing the school to go from four lunch periods to two.

"Because the current cafeteria is so small, we can't get enough students in there to eat together. Having fewer periods will mean more time for other things," Bell said.

The old kitchen will be gutted for storage, and new appliances will be purchased for the new kitchen.

"We've been patching what we have for years. We've probably spent as much patching as we could buy new," Bell said.

The project is being paid for through a $1.48 million bond issue voters approved in November.

Additional parking is a major part of the construction as well as air conditioning for the high school gymnasium. There will be a new water supply system installed there with new pipes.

Bell said the school had two major water leaks this year, including one in which thousands of gallons of water leaked onto the gym floor, which has since warped.

The district is hoping to replace the floor and put in new locker rooms this summer.

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